Thirty-seven winners representing 29 undergraduate departmental and interdisciplinary honors programs were recently honored for excellence in their theses and research. These students have received the 2020 Firestone and Golden medals, as well as the Kennedy Honors Thesis prizes.

The Firestone and Golden Medals are awarded to the top 10 percent of honors theses completed in a given year. The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognizes theses written in the social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. The Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Creative Arts similarly distinguishes theses in the humanities or creative projects in the arts. The students will each receive an engraved bronze medal, citation and a monetary award.

The David M. Kennedy Prize is awarded annually to the single best thesis in four academic areas: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering & applied sciences. Recipients of this award have accomplished exceptionally advanced research in the field and have shown strong potential for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly works. The prize was established in 2008 in recognition of history professor David M. Kennedy’s long-standing mentoring of undergraduate writers. Winners will each receive an engraved plaque and a monetary award.

The projects conducted by the winners capture the breadth of the undergraduate experience at Stanford and span diverse academic areas, from the sciences to the arts.

The David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes

Engineering & Applied Sciences: Maya Varma, “Artificial Intelligence Methods for Improved Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Computer Science, advised by James Landay (Computer Science) and Dennis Wall (Pediatrics-Systems Medicine).

Humanities: Amir Abou-Jaoude, “Robert Mapplethorpe and the Allure of Antiquity,” Art and Art History, advised by Jody Maxmin (Art & Art History) and Richard Meyer (Art & Art History).

Natural Sciences: Walter Sobba, “ARID1A Loss Leads to Mucinous Differentiation and Therapeutic Opportunities in CRISPR/Cas9-Engineered Human Gastric Cancer Organoids,” Human Biology, advised by Calvin Kuo (Hematology), Paul Fisher (Pediatrics), and Yuan-HungLo (Medicine).

Social Sciences: Toren Fronsdal, “Essays on Health Care Pricing,” Economics, advised by Jay Bhattacharya (Medicine).

The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Emily Bishko, “Of Dinners and Diplomacy: What White House State Dinners Reveal About Relationship Building and Goodwill Signaling in U.S. Foreign Policy,” International Relations, advised by Robert Rakove (International Relations).

Cade Cannedy, “Why Your Air Will Not Get Better: Path Dependence and Capture in Air Quality Regulation,” Political Science, advised by Bruce Cain (Political Science).

Clementine Chou, “Investigating the Links Between Creativity, Attention, and Exploration,” Psychology, advised by Anthony Wagner (Psychology).

Jñani Crawford, “Validation and Generalization of Pixel-wise Relevance in CNNs Trained for Face Classification,” Symbolic Systems, advised by Kalanit Grill-Spector (Psychology) and Sonia Poltoratski (Psychology).

Sani Eskinazi, “A Centriole-less Pericentriolar Material,” Biology, advised by Jessica Feldman (Biology) and Tim Stearns (Biology).

Alexandra Henzinger, “Automating the Mapping of Computation and Data onto Heterogeneous Hardware,” Computer Science, advised by Alex Aiken (Computer Science).

Laura Jonsson, “Home Language Environments of Young Children across Households and Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Rural China,” Human Biology, advised by Scott Rozelle (SIEPR) and Virginia Marchman (Psychology).

Eric Kilgore, “Global Non-Linearly Stable Solutions to the Spherically Symmetric Einstein Scalar Field System,” Mathematics, advised by Jonathan Luk (Mathematics).

Nick Kingsley, “African Autocrats and Progressive Refugee Governance,” Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), advised by Jeremy Weinstein (Political Science).

Harika Kottakota, “Who ‘Speaks’ for Autism and Who is ‘M[i]ss[i]ng’? Examining Autism Narratives and Advocacy in the Era of Genomics,” Science, Technology, and Society, advised by Duana Fullwiley (Anthropology).

Mahima Krishnamoorthi, “After Care and What Happens Next: An Exploration into Political Discourse and Sociocultural and Stigma and Effects on the Post-Abortion Experience,” Anthropology, advised by Sharika Thiranagama (Anthropology) and Clea Sarnquist (Pediatrics).

Jonah Martin Glick-Unterman, “The Cost-Capitulation Paradox: Compellent Signals, Sequences, and Selection Effects,” Center for International Security & Cooperation (CISAC), advised by Scott Sagan (CISAC, Political Science) and Condoleezza Rice (CISAC, Political Science).

Demetri Maxim, “A Novel 3-D Culture System for Modeling Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease,” Biology, advised by Vivek Bhalla (Medicine-Nephrology), Tim Stearns (Biology), and Jeffrey Axelrod (Pathology).

Cameron Nosrat, “Impact of Recent Climate Extremes on Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission in Kenya,” Human Biology, advised by Desiree LaBeaud (Pediatrics), Paul Fisher (Pediatrics), and Jonathan Altamirano (Pediatrics).

Michael Quezada, “Exploring the Epigenetic and Microenvironmental Factors Promoting Proliferation of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma,” Bioengineering, advised by Michelle Monje-Deisseroth (Neurology) and Jennifer Cochran (Bioengineering).

Spencer Robinson, “Investigating the Role of Tomato Plasma Membrane Protein RLK15 in Tomato Defense Responses to Bacterial Infection,” Biology, advised by Mary Beth Mudgett (Biology) and Jose Dinneny (Biology).

Atlanta Rydzik, “How to Get Away With Murder: The Racialization of Police Killings, Criminalization of Black Victims, and Protection of Police Officers in the News,” Sociology, advised by Forrest Stuart (Sociology).

Nikhil Shankar, “Adult Education and Missing Women: Evidence from India’s Saakshar Bharat Literacy Program,” Economics, advised by Grant Miller (Medicine).

Zhengyan Darius Shi, “Many-body Quantum Chaos Beyond Semiclassical Fields,” Physics, advised by Sean Hartnoll (Physics) and Stephen Shenker (Physics).

David Tattoni, “Riparian Avifauna of the San Francisco Bay Region: Population Dynamics and Future Outlooks with Anthropogenic Climate Change,” Earth Systems, advised by Rodolfo Dirzo (Biological Sciences).

Katharine Woo, “Analytic Number Theory and Exponential Sums in the Function Field Setting,” Mathematics, advised by Kannan Soundararajan (Mathematics).

Victoria Yuan, “Investigating Interactions Between the Native Left Ventricle and Berlin Heart Excor With a Novel, Mechanistic Lumped Parameter Network,” Biomedical Computation, advised by Alison Marsden (Bioengineering) and David Rosenthal (Pediatrics).

The Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Creative Arts

Joss Paxton Cameron, “Walking Through Overcome,” Music, advised by François Rose (Music).

Courtney Cooperman, “Loss of Place, Loss of Voice: How Homelessness Impedes Political Equality,” Ethics in Society, advised by Debra Satz (Philosophy) and Brian Coyne (Political Science).

Irie Evans, “Theater Performance, Acting,” Theater and Performance Studies, advised by Amy Freed (Theater and Performance Studies).

Lily Foulkes, “Queer Deviancy, Undesirable Caribbean Refugees, and the Rise of Carceral Immigration Detention,” History, advised by Ana Minian (History) and Estelle Freedman (History).

Ashley Hannah, “Jacksonville, a Photographic Essay on Landscape and Violence,”, Art and Art History, advised by Gail Wight (Art & Art History).

Maddie Kim, “Performance, Materiality, Postmemory: Dancing Toward History in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s DICTEE,” Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, advised by Roanne Kantor (English) and Marci Kwon (Art History).

Savannah Mohacsi, “Body as Canvas,” Arts Institute, advised by Mad Luellen (Art & Art History) and Jessi Piggott (Arts Institute).

Madeline Snigaroff, “Constructing Language Revitalization Resources,” Linguistics, advised by Paul Kiparsky (Linguistics).

Josh Wagner, “Solid Fluctuation: Practicing Difference and Repetition through Blake’s Urizen Cycle (1794-5),” English, advised by Denise Gigante (English) and Tom Owens (English).

Lina Wang, “Simulacra Classica: Hyperreal Replication of Ancient Monuments and Buildings,” Classics, advised by Grant Parker (Classics) and Jody Maxmin (Art and Art History and Classics).

Sam Wolfe, “Lovecraft and the Question of an Uninhabitable Universe,” Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages), advised by Robert Harrison (French and Italian) and Russell Berman (Comparative Literature).